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Knighted! $2.7M In Arts Challenge Funding Announced

With an increasingly challenging economic and political landscape stacked against it, the arts and culture community in Greater Philadelphia is in an all-too familiar position: Proving its vitality and value to both the regional economy and the community at large.

Finally, some reward and recognition.

The first recipients of the $9 million Knights Art Challenge Philadelphia, a three-year initiative from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to inspire and enrich the city, was announced Monday evening. Thirty-six ideas, representing large and established cultural organizations and individual artists alike, received a total of $2.7 million.

The first-round grant recipients were chosen from 1,700  submissions and must find matching funds within a year. Classical music was a clear focus, no surprise considering the attention generated by the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by the Philadelphia Orchestra, which received an unprecedented standing ovation last week in its first New York performance (at Carnegie Hall) since the proceedings began. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association received $150,000 for its iNotes project, which will create smartphone apps to supply real-time context about live performances. Also, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts received $200,000 for its Cross-Over Classical summer series. Astral Artists ($35,000) and Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra ($25,000) also received funding for classical music programs.

The largest grant was awarded to the Fairmount Park Art Association, which received $250,000 to create a new kind of communal space through a world premiere public art event that will transform the night sky with roving searchlights.

The Knight Arts Challenge began in 2008 in Miami and continues there into its fourth year. Philly is the second and only other city in which Knight offers the program.

Here is a complete list of award winners:

African American Museum in Philadelphia: RAAMP It Up Wednesdays, $45,000

Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture: Arab Music Concert Series, $50,000

Astral Artists
: Spiritual Voyages Festival, $35,000

BalletX: eXpanding the eXperience of BalletX, $13,000

The Barnes Foundation: You CAN take it with you! $120,000

Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra: iConduct! $25,000

City of Philadelphia, Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy: City Hall Presents, $100,000

Dance/USA Philadelphia: A Portable Floor for Dance in Public Places, $45,000

Darla Jackson: Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, $20,000

District One Community Education Center: Dance Africa Philadelphia! $50,000

Fairmount Park Art Association: Open Air, $250,000

Fresh Artists: Fresh Artists Studio, $75,000

Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance: 10th Grade "Passport to the Arts," $75,000

Hidden City Philadelphia: Hidden City Philadelphia Festival 2013, $100,000

Kathleen Bonanno: Musehouse, A Center for the Literary Arts, $50,000

LiveConnections.org: Collaborative Connections, $100,000

Mann Center for the Performing Arts: Cross-Over Classical, $200,000

Mighty Writers: Sound and Fury, $50,000

New Kensington Community Development Corporation Award: Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby, $20,000

Nichole Canuso Dance Company
: The Garden, $50,000

Opera Company of Philadelphia
: Opening Night Philadelphia, $150,000

Philadelphia Film Society: Philadelphia Film Festival Short Film Competition, $30,000

Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe: The Live Arts Festival presents SCRATCH Night, $50,000

Philadelphia Mural Arts Program: Favelas to Philly, $100,000

The Philadelphia Orchestra Association: iNotes, $150,000

Philadelphia Theatre Company: PTC@PLAY, $75,000

Philadelphia Youth Orchestra: Tune Up Philly, $150,000

Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement
: Philly Youth Poetry Movement, $40,000

Pig Iron Theatre Company
: The Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training, $150,000

Taller Puertorriqueño: Cafe under the Stars: Spotlighting Arts in the Barrio, $75,000

Temple Performing Arts Center
: Arts Wide Open in North Philadelphia, Anchor of the Avenue of the Arts, $20,000

theartblog.org: First Friday Art Safari, with Libby and Roberta, $7,000

Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia: Fill in the Blanks with Theatre, $100,000

Tiny Dynamite Productions
: a Play, a Pie and a Pint, $25,000

Vox Populi: Spectrum, $40,000

WXPN Radio, University of Pennsylvania
: Building Audiences for Philadelphia's Vibrant Scene of Local Musicians, $50,000

JOE PETRUCCI is managing editor of Flying Kite. Send feedback here.


Tom Tansey, executive director and Emma Gibson, artistic director of Tiny Dynamite Productions

Artist Darla Jackson in her studio with "A Fish Out Of Water" part of her "Surprise Party" series.

Nora Gibson Performance Project during Dance/UP's Dance in Public Places: February 2011 at the Gallery

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